In Support of Proposition 2

CALIFORNIA - One local newspaper explains why it is supporting the forthcoming ballot on Proposition 2 regarding the welfare of farm animals.
calendar icon 6 October 2008
clock icon 4 minute read

San Gabriel Valley Tribune writes that, tO the extent that they hve been paying attention to one of the more obscure measures on California's Nov. 4 ballot - Proposition 2, Standards for Confining Farm Animals [Prop. 2] - practical Californians have been mostly pooh-poohing it.

They count themselves among the 'sometimes ordinary sceptics' when it comes to so many laws and initiatives proposed in recent years.

They say this is yet another feel-good law in search of a real problem. While it addresses cage space for hogs and for young cattle being bred for veal, they had been told that there were essentially no veal crates or so called sow-gestation cages in California - that all that agriculture takes place in the Midwest.

And so far as the battery cages for the million of egg-laying chickens in California that Proposition 2 is mainly set up to address - well, say poultry industry types, it is true that 'birds of a feather flock together'. They ... like the confinement, hundreds of thousands of birds in cages of eight, each with no room to move. As to whether the chickens like having each of their beaks cut off, which must be done so that they don't kill each other while being caged so closely for life - well, the industry or the avian pathologists supported by it at the University of California do not address that one.

But it turns out that there are indeed large hog farms in California - one up north has at least 9,000 sows in cages with no room for the mother pigs to move, and that sounds like a lot of pigs to us, continues the report.

They learned some of these facts from Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States, sponsor of Proposition 2. When he came into the newspaper offices recently, he reminded the journalists that the Humane Society was the same outfit that sent the worker with the hidden camera into that Chino slaughterhouse earlier this year, exposing such horrific abuses that the USDA had to close down the entire company.

Mr Pacelle notes that the move toward cage-free, free-range and organic poultry farms is not the province of just a few carriage-trade stores anymore - mainstream markets and restaurant chains are already heading in that direction, some of them entirely so.

The entire European Union has recently banned battery cages - and that covers a lot of egg production in its 27 countries. "We just believe that animals born to move should be able to move," Mr Pacelle said. He noted that this same industry already produces 90 per cent of its broiler birds in cage-free environments - for the practical reason that consumers would not purchase the bruised chicken meat that results from confinement.

So the journalists write that they have come around to Pacelle's and the Humane Society's side. They say Proposition 2 is not asking for the moon and the stars, and that The Society's 10 million members are not a bunch of radical vegans.

They conclude that Proposition 2 would bring to agriculture in our state, in the reasonable time frame of before 2015: The requirement that farmers pen egg-laying hens, veal and pregnant pigs in ways that allow the animals to lie down, stand up, fully extend their limbs and turn around freely.

That's a simple, good thing for California, and San Gabriel Valley Tribune recommends a 'yes' vote on Proposition 2, the article concludes.

Further Reading

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